New £3bn air­craft car­rier docks at High­land port

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Bri­tain’s new­est air­craft car­rier – the £3 bil­lion HMS Prince of Wales – cruised into the Cro­marty Firth yes­ter­day to re­stock with fuel and sup­plies at In­ver­gor­don.

It was its first port of call since leav­ing Rosyth dock­yard in Fife, where the 65,000-tonne ship was built, to then un­dergo sea tri­als in the North Sea and outer Moray Firth.

HMS Prince of Wales, with hun­dreds of crew on board, will stay briefly in the High­land port be­fore continuing tri­als through­out the au­tumn.

It is ex­pected to draw huge crowds to the Easter Ross town over the week­end and its pres­ence has been wel­comed by coun­cil­lor and SNP group leader Max­ine Smith.

She said: “In­ver­gor­don is see­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of naval ves­sels dock­ing and they are al­ways wel­come. It will mean busi­ness for the lo­cal hostel­ries and shops and an op­por­tu­nity for the sailors to get a taste of High­land hos­pi­tal­ity.”

Fur­ther short breaks are planned in In­ver­gor­don dur­ing the tri­als to take on fresh sup­plies be­fore the ship makes its de­but in Portsmouth – join­ing sis­ter car­rier HMS Queen El­iz­a­beth – fol­lowed by a for­mal com­mis­sion­ing in De­cem­ber.

HMS Queen El­iz­a­beth also con­ducted sea tri­als in the Moray Firth and North Sea in 2017 and spent a pro­longed pe­riod in In­ver­gor­don af­ter de­bris was stuck in a pro­pel­ler.

The Royal Navy said HMS Prince of Wales had this week achieved top speed of 25 knots when its six en­gines were pushed to “full throt­tle” in the North Sea tri­als.

Pho­to­graph by Sandy Mc­Cook

Bri­tain’s new­est air­craft car­rier Prince of Wales ar­rives in the Cro­marty Firth.

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